Americans tiring of hearing about God on campaign trail

Published: Wednesday, May 2 2012 11:18 p.m. MDT

Regardless of political party, many Americans say they don't want to get preached to on the campaign trail.

According to a recent Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, for the first time in its 10 years of polling, the largest group of voters — 38 percent — said that politicians are talking about religion "too much."

The survey also found that 30 percent of Americans think politicians talk "too little" about faith while 25 percent say it's the "right amount." Despite twice as many Democrats saying politicians talk too much about religion as Republicans, both parties saw sharp increases in those who want to hear less about God on the campaign trail.

"It's getting ugly out there," Tim King, an evangelical Christian who works for the progressive religious group Sojourners, told CNN. "There are a lot of Christians who are using their faith as a political weapon, which it's never meant to be."

The use of religion in politics isn't the only arena where Americans are tiring of the rhetoric. A recent survey released jointly by the Knight Program in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California and the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron shows Americans believe religious news to be too polarizing and sensationalized.

Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism who helped organize the study, says the lack of journalist understanding of faith leads to the polarization.

"News organizations are rightly worried about creating smart business plans and developing cutting-edge technology," Winston said in a press release. "But they're overlooking their most basic resource: knowledgeable reporters."

The survey also showed nearly half, or 43.6 percent, of Americans believe religion to be a source of conflict in the world while only 52.6 percent see it as a positive influence.

Liberal blogger Pat Cunningham points out that talking about God or being called by Him to run for office doesn't seem to have much, as the four candidates who said they were inspired to run for the presidency (Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain) were all beat by Mitt Romney.

However, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who is now running for Congress, says God helped current President Barack Obama.

“He became a Christian against all odds, and ultimately — I don’t know God’s will — but if you follow what God wants you to do, He will bless you. Barack Obama has been blessed by God to become president,” Wurzelbacher told Politico.

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